The 26-year-old man accused of plowing into pedestrians in New York’s Times Square, hitting and killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 others, has been indicted by a grand jury, according to the New York County District Attorney’s Office.
Richard Rojas was indicted Wednesday, though the charges will not be made public until his arraignment July 13 in Manhattan Supreme Court.
His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Following the May 18 rampage, Rojas, a U.S. citizen and resident of the Bronx, was arrested on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder. Police said Rojas was driving down Seventh Avenue in Manhattan when he made a sudden U-turn and started driving the wrong direction from 42nd to 45th Street “at a high rate of speed both on and off the sidewalk, striking numerous pedestrians,” according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities said Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Portage, Mich., was struck and killed, and that her 13-year-old sister was injured.
People described the horror on social media, saying a car had driven onto a sidewalk in Times Square, mowed down pedestrians and crashed. Witnesses said the wounded were “laying on the sidewalks” and others were “screaming and running, the place is swarming with emergency vehicles and cops.” Those in the area were told to shelter in place while emergency crews swarmed the scene.
The vehicle sat smoldering, eerily tilted on one side, at the corner of 45th Street.
After Rojas crashed the vehicle, police said, he ran from the scene and said that he wanted to “kill them,” according to the court documents.
Police said Rojas had glassy eyes, was unsteady and slurring his speech. Court records state that Rojas told police that he had been smoking marijuana laced with the mood-altering drug PCP. Preliminary tests showed that Rojas was indeed under the influence of PCP at the time of the incident, according to news reports.
Rojas has a criminal history that includes two arrests for driving while intoxicated — once in 2008 and again in 2015, authorities said. He recently pleaded guilty to harassment after he was accused of pulling a kitchen knife on a notary at his home in the Bronx, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors said he told the notary, “You’re trying to steal my identity,” according to the news agency.
Rojas does not have to enter a plea on the charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder until his arraignment in Manhattan next month.
A local man with a long criminal history was cited for felony DUI on Sunday after leaving Aspen Valley Hospital’s emergency room under the influence of narcotics, according to a police report.A nurse warned Benjamin Levy, 30, not to drive because of the medication he’d been given, but he apparently didn’t heed the advice, according to the report. So the nurse called a drunken-driving hotline and reported that Levy was driving a white Audi station wagon, the report states.An Aspen police officer spotted the vehicle pulling into the Local’s Corner gas station not long after and approached the driver’s side door. The officer noticed Levy wearing an AVH hospital bracelet and discovered that his license is suspended for failure to install an interlock device, the report states.”During my conversation with Levy, I could hear that his speech was slurred,” Officer Marcin Debski wrote in the report.Levy refused to perform roadside sobriety tests and had a breath-alcohol content of 0.0, according to the report.Debski called the AVH nurse, who explained that Levy “was under the influence of narcotics and should not be operating a motor vehicle,” the report states.Levy also refused to provide a sample of his blood for testing.Levy, who has three previous DUI convictions, was charged with felony DUI because it is his fourth, according to the report. He also was charged with driving with a suspended license, and had failure-to-appear warrants from Garfield County Court and Arapahoe County Court and another misdemeanor failure-to-appear warrant from the Denver Marshall’s Office.Levy has been arrested repeatedly since 2013, when he fired a gun inside his Woody Creek apartment and the bullet entered his neighbor’s apartment. No one was injured in that incident, though Levy also was charged with DUI later that same day.His latest arrest before Sunday occurred in August, when he was found unconscious next to a hypodermic needle he later admitted contained heroin.
WILEY FORD, W.Va. — An Oakland man was charged with driving under the influence following a Friday head-on crash on state Route 28 that claimed the life of a Hampshire County, West Virginia, man, authorities said.
The Mineral County Sheriff’s Office reported 58-year-old Troya Smith of Shanks was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident that occurred just before noon.
A warrant was signed Tuesday morning by Mineral County Magistrate Patrick A. Amoroso charging Tyler A. Sweitzer, 24, of Oakland with driving under the influence causing death. Sweitzer was listed in good condition Tuesday at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Preliminary investigation by the sheriff’s office indicated Sweitzer was operating a 2015 Ford Escape northbound on Route 28 near Press Little Market when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle crossed into the southbound lane directly into the path of a 2004 Ford Ranger operated by Smith and pulling a trailer.
Witnesses told police Smith had no time to react when the Sweitzer vehicle traveled into his lane.
Deputies said the investigation also revealed possible use of a controlled dangerous substance by Sweitzer and speed was cited as a factor.
Upon conviction, the felony charge of driving under the influence causing death carries a maximum sentence of prison of three to 15 years and a fine of $1,000 to $3,000, according to the magistrate’s office.
According to Maryland electronic court records, Sweitzer was issued at least three speeding citations in Garrett County in the past two years.
Maryland State Police charged Sweitzer on April 18 for allegedly traveling 87 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone on state Route 135 at CCC Camp Road.
Sweitzer was cited by the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 5, 2016, for driving a vehicle in excess of reasonable and prudent speed on Pysell Crosscut Road. He was found guilty of that charge on March 18, court records indicated.
State police also charged Sweitzer with speeding on Interstate 68 at the 24-mile marker on Aug. 26, 2015.
KALAMAZOO, MI — An 18-year-old Augusta man will stand trial for a crash that killed his friend.
Jacob Lyons was scheduled for a preliminary examination Wednesday on evidence against him in Kalamazoo County District Court.
Lyons waived the exam and instead will stand trial in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.
Lyons is accused of driving under the influence of marijuana, causing a crash that killed Conner Blinn, 17, of Kalamazoo.
Police say Lyons’ vehicle left the road and struck several trees in the 9800 Block of North 32nd Street shortly before 2:30 a.m. Aug. 1.
Lyons faces charges of operating under the influence causing death and reckless driving causing death, both felonies.
Early Monday morning police found a vehicle stopped at the intersection of Hayway Road and Carriage Shop Rd for an extended period. Upon further investigation, the officer found the male operator passed out and slumped over the passenger seat. Field Sobriety Tests were administered after the officer woke up the operator. The tests indicated that the operator was impaired by narcotics and he was placed under arrest. The Falmouth Police log transcript identifies the suspect as Mitchell J. DeVincent, 25, of Hanover, MA. He was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, operating negligently to endanger, possession of a Class A substance, and possession of a Class B substance. Bail was set at $1040.00.
Man accused of using heroin, causing Cortland crash with daughter in towNeal Cowfer, Jr. was indicted by a Trumbull County grand jury on multiple charges on Tuesday: Neal Cowfer, Jr., 28, charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, trafficking in heroin, possession of heroin, aggravated possession of drugs, and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugsCORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A man accused of driving under the influence of heroin with his daughter in the car is set to appear in a Trumbull County courtroom later this month.Neal Cowfer, Jr., 28, was indicted on aggravated trafficking in drugs, trafficking in heroin, possession of heroin, aggravated possession of drugs and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs charges.The charges stem from a crash in Cortland on March 30.
My son received a ticket for DUI while walking through Walmart in Thorton, CO. He was not around his car and did not have the keys. The tire center had his vehicle. He does not drink, but he was on medication for a severe back surgery he had had.
- The prosecution will have to prove he was driving. The will try to do this thru witnesses, your son’s statements and circumstantial evidence.
- The prosecution will attempt to prove that the medication was affecting his driving ability. Charges may be brought in this type of case as well as can be brought for alcohol, but it is tougher for them to prove.
On Nov. 8 voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada approved ballot measures to legalize recreational cannabis. It is now legal in a total of eight states. And this creates potential problems for road safety. How do we determine who’s impaired and who’s not?
The effects of alcohol vary based on a person’s size and weight, metabolism rate, related food intake and the type and amount of beverage consumed. Even so, alcohol consumption produces fairly straightforward results: The more you drink, the worse you drive. Factors like body size and drinking experience can shift the correlation slightly, but the relationship is still pretty linear, enough to be able to confidently develop a blood alcohol content scale for legally determining drunk driving. Not so with marijuana.
A Whitesboro bus driver was arrested on Saturday after driving a bus full of kids while impaired by prescription drugs, according to New York State Police.Troopers and DeWitt police pulled over 46-year-old Michele L. Daly on Route 481 north, just before exit 11 after the kids on the bus called 911 for help. Several students reported that the bus driver was driving erratically.After speaking with Daly, troopers found that she was driving under the influence of prescription medication. She was taken into custody and now faces three counts of aggravated DWI-Drugs, fourteen counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and a traffic violation. Daly was arraigned in the Village of East Syracuse Court and released to family until her next court appearance on May 5th.Troopers say there were 25 kids on the bus between the ages of 14 to 18-years-old and two coaches. They had left Whitesboro and were headed to Fulton High School for a lacrosse game. According to the school’s website, it was the boy’s team playing against Fulton.Trooper Jack Keller says the team was still able to make it to their game on Saturday. There were two buses driving to the game, so the second bus picked up the coaches and students on the side of the roadway and safely brought them to the game.
Logan Kitzhaber apologizes to crash victims, believes collision saved his life, says his crash into a motorhome on the Oregon coast last year was the culmination of a “long, dark emotional path laden with prescription pills,” but that the mistake ultimately saved his life.The former governor’s son, now 19, wrote a letter to the couple he injured when he sideswiped them on U.S. 101 last July Fourth.Kitzhaber apologized to Stanley and Martha Lyckman and said he had no right to endanger their lives. They’ve inspired him to improve himself and help others, he said in the letter, required as part of his plea bargain in the case.”Before the fourth of July, I was a misguided teenager addicted to popping pills with no motivation and no interests outside of drugs,” Kitzhaber said.The crash was a wake-up call that he “desperately needed,” he said. If not for what happened, he believes he would have eventually overdosed on drugs, he said.”When I decided to get behind the wheel, I was making a terrible choice endangering my life and the lives of anybody else that might have happened to be on the road at the time. Unfortunately it was you,” he told the Lyckmans.Read Logan Kitzhaber’s letterRead Martha Lyckman’s victim impact statementKitzhaber vowed to the couple that he would stay out of legal trouble, get an education and avoid drugs. He said he’s glad to have an opportunity to learn from his mistakes.”Nobody deserves what I put you through, and I wish you nothing but the best,” he said. “And to anybody who thinks that driving while inebriated isn’t dangerous, please think before you act. It’s not worth it.”Kitzhaber was sentenced to seven days in jail last month in Lincoln County Circuit Court for third- and fourth-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants. Authorities said the intoxicants were prescription pills. A judge also ordered him to serve five years of probation and undergo drug and alcohol treatment and suspended Kitzhaber’s driver’s license for five years.According to police reports, Kitzhaber was driving a Toyota Prius from Neskowin to Lincoln City to play miniature golf when he hit the motorhome. It was in the oncoming lane as Kitzhaber was passing another car. Other motorists reported Kitzhaber driving erratically before the collision.He admitted to authorities that he drank one beer before driving and smoked marijuana the night before. He told police he couldn’t remember what caused him to crash .Kitzhaber’s mother, Sharon LaCroix, told police on the day of the crash that her son uses marijuana and prescription pills, but she hadn’t seen him using any drugs that day. It’s not clear from police reports or Kitzhaber’s letter what pills he used or where he got them.Kitzhaber’s father is John Kitzhaber, who was just starting his fourth term as state governor in 2015 when he resigned amid a federal investigation into the role his fiancee played in his administration. A resolution has not yet been announced.Martha Lyckman said during the younger Kitzhaber’s sentencing hearing that the crash nearly cost her husband his leg, forced him to relearn to walk and placed a large financial burden on them because of medical costs. They were traveling from their home in Port Angeles, Washington, for a summer vacation on the Oregon coast.